When I headed to the Glentui Loop Track, just 30 minutes drive from my house, it was with the intention of walking the track until hitting a point that was clearly unsafe to pass. On arriving, I parked at the lower picnic area and passed a track sign to head to the lower bridge. This bridge was the highest above the water and looked unaffected. I knew the remaining two bridges were just a couple of feet above the streams their streams and could be passed without needing their use if required, so I contined with the plan to head around the track until it was unsafe to continue, and that being the case I could turn around and head back. As the loop takes me 45 minutes at a regular pace, I knew at any point on the loop I was no more than around 30 minutes or so from the car.
As a more detailed disclaimer, I have walked this loop many times and was familiar with the bridges and rivers/streams that would need to be crossed having stopped there many times before with my kids. As always when I go on a walk, I start an activity on my Garmin Instinct Solar watch. This starts a live activity feed that sends a link to my wife so that she can watch me on the route.
I over-prepare for any walk I do – even the < 1 hour family walks. I continue to do this despite the multiple comments I get from strangers on the same walk that carry nothing but a hand-held plastic water bottle.
On this walk that I knew on a regular day I could cruise in 45 minutes, my backpack, pockets, and belt held my fully charged mobile phone with local maps saved to the device, two headtorches plus my waterproof Fenix torch, a spare set of batteries, a fully charged, high-powered USB powerbank, my Leatherman multitool, a full first aid kit, a waterproof jacket (the awesome Patagonia Torrentshell), my new Macpac insultated jacket, water and snacks, a hot mug of tea in my insulated Hydro Flask, waterproof gloves, a beanie and scarf, and more, with most of it sealed in a waterproof stuff sack. I even took along a couple of slings and karabiners from my rock climbing days in case I came across anyone who needed immediate assistance. Back at the car I keep another first aid kit, dry clothes and footwear, another water bottle, and more.
As an aside, I have a hazard identification certification and a ropes course qualification. I’ve completed many kilometres of hiking both in the UK and here in New Zealand, as well as plenty of rock climbing around Europe and NZ.
In short, I was well prepared, aware of the dangers, had family who knew where I was (at a frequency of every two minutes!), and I went to the track at my own risk, with a goal more of a quick stretch of the legs and a careful approach rather than the intention to actually complete the walk no matter what.
I’m writing this blog not to encourage others to take chances, but to share photos of the damage caused by the floods, which hopefully will help to educate others as to the extreme damage that can be caused. I met these sites in the dry, warm (my thermals were too much at 16 degrees!) at low altitude and a short distance from the car. This helped give me a clear-headed perspective on the hazard. I didn’t need to cross to get to safety.
Video Showing Damage to Glentui Loop Track and Bridges
Glentui River Flood Damage to Bridges
First up is the middle of the three bridges, located at -43.195759, 172.249875. The two bridges shown below are both west of the intersection with the Bypass Track, i.e. both line on the shortest part of the loop that lies between the Bypass Track and the carpark/picnic area. If travelling clockwise from the Bypass Track intersection, you would only pass the higher bridge which appears undamaged.
Further Track Damage Caused by Slips & Fallen Trees
As well as directly on the Glentui River’s tributaries themselves, there is further damage to the loop track. I counted three sites that are going to need some work. Two slips on the main track and some decent tree fall to one spot on the short side-track to the waterfall lookout.
When hiking in New Zealand, always be prepared for unexpected changes in weather. Check the weather forecast, let people know where you’re going, when you’ll be back, and the vehicle you’re in and where you’ll park. Always take a backpack with the appropriate gear.
A 2.5-hour 'out and back' in North Canterbury that sees you at a fire watch lookout point in 50 minutes and Mt Grey summit in 90 minutes. At the summit you'll be treated to 360° views; mountain ranges to one side and the ocean to another.
https://nzraw.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/summit-trig-mt-grey.jpg8001200Markhttps://nzraw.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/nz-raw-logo.pngMark2021-05-24 12:59:012021-05-24 12:59:01Mount Grey via Lake Janet
The Tiromoana Bush Walkway is a hilly coastal walk in Waipara, North Canterbury. It features a number of points-of-interest along the way.
https://nzraw.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/tiromoana-bush-walk-monument.jpg8001200Markhttps://nzraw.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/nz-raw-logo.pngMark2021-01-01 12:53:472021-01-25 11:21:27Tiromoana Bush Walkway
If you have young children, whether you're a painted rock enthusiast or not, you're going to love Fairyland at Leithfield Beach. And if you don't have young children... go anyway. It's a nice walk with something that will appeal to anyone.
https://nzraw.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/fairyland-painted-rocks-canterbury.jpg10801920Markhttps://nzraw.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/nz-raw-logo.pngMark2020-06-01 16:49:252021-01-25 11:23:45Visiting Fairyland in Canterbury
If you're looking for a less-than-half-day forest nature walk within a short drive from Christchurch that's easily accessible, varied and interesting for young children, and offers the reward of a waterfall for those want to add a more challenging extension, then the Ashley Gorge Loop Track ticks a lot of boxes.
https://nzraw.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/ashley-gorge-loop-track.jpg13551920Markhttps://nzraw.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/nz-raw-logo.pngMark2020-06-01 12:23:252021-01-25 11:24:24Ashley Gorge Loop Track and Waterfall